Dominant Texas High Defense Faces High-Scoring Pine Tree Offense in 14-4A Opener
Texas High Tigers (4-1, 0-0)
Pine Tree Pirates (3-2, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Pirate Stadium, Longview
- Texas High: Barry Norton
- Pine Tree: Derek Fitzhenry
- Texas High: vs. Sulphur Springs
- Pine Tree: at Hallsville
- RB Tre Walker, Sr., 5-9, 175 (110 carries, 538 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB Anthony Rhone, Sr. 6-0, 210 (committed to SMU)
- RB Javon Thomas, Jr., 6-2, 192 (19 carries, 114 yards)
- QB Dakota Hunter, Sr., 5-11, 170 (56 of 68, 610 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs)
- DB Kevin Harris, Sr., 6-2, 170 (2 INTs)
- OL Justin Lewis, Sr., 5-11, 270
- DL Will Brown, Jr., 6-2, 276
- WR Dale Williamson, Jr., 5-10, 153
- WR Taylor Jackson, Sr. 6-2, 191
- DB Marquan Daniels, Sr., 5-10, 155
- QB Dalvin Manns, Sr., 6-1, 220 (82 of 137, 1,548 yards, 13 TDs, 2 INTs; 51 carries, 265 yards, 6 TDs)
- WR Mason Hays, Jr., 6-2, 192 (29 catches, 712 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR Douglas Morgan, Jr., 6-0, 184 (26 catches, 413 yards, 3 TDs)
- WR Johnathan Giddings, Jr., 5-10, 197 (8 catches, 157 yards)
- DB Carlos Johnson, Sr., 6-3, 195 (45 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
- DL Edwin Paz, Sr. 6-0, 250 (25 tackles, 7 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries)
- DB Tre Devine, Sr., 5-11, 170 (19 tackles, 2 for loss, 3 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass break-ups)
- LB Dakota Lynn, Sr., 5-7, 200 (32 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 INTs, 3 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 2 pass break-ups)
- RB Quay Ward, Jr., 5-11, 185 (34 carries, 167 yards, 4 TDs; 9 catches, 94 yards)
- DB Lamarcus Reese, Sr., 6-0, 179 (15 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 sacks)
Just the facts
- Texas High and Pine Tree have met 19 times in a series dating back to 1978. Texas High holds a 14-4-1 edge all-time over Pine Tree.
- The Tigers are 4-1, their best start since 2008.
- Texas High is 59-15 in district games under head coach Barry Norton.
- The Tigers rank last in District 14-4A, averaging just 261.5 yards per game, while their defense leads the district by allowing just 173.8 per game.
- Despite winning only three games last season, Texas High's defense still held opponents to a respectable 26.6 points per game.
- Pine Tree is 3-2, its best start since 2007.
- The Pirates are just 1-30 in district games since 2008.
- Pine Tree is averaging 438.4 yards per game, which ranks second in 14-4A. The defense, however, is last in the league, allowing 507.6 yards per game.
- The Pirates' three wins have come against Van, Center and Lindale, who have combined to go just 1-15.
- Pine Tree last made the playoffs in 2001.
Key matchup: Pine Tree passing game vs. Texas High secondary. It's a classic offense vs. defense matchup Friday when one of the area's most explosive offenses does battle against one of East Texas' stingiest defenses. Despite an injury to projected starting quarterback Caleb Chumbley prior to the season, the Pirates' offense hasn't skipped a beat with Dalvin Manns in at quarterback. Pine Tree is averaging 35.6 points per game and it's its passing game that's driving the engine. Manns has completed 60 percent of his passes and is averaging 309.6 passing yards per game. Hays has emerged as one of the area's top receiving threats with eight touchdown catches and a staggering 24.6 yards per reception. When Manns isn't targeting Hays, Douglas Morgan has proven to be an effective secondary option. The Pine Tree receiving corps comes into Friday's game averaging almost 19 yards per catch, which speaks to the Pirates' early-season explosiveness in the passing game.
Not many teams have been able to do much of anything against Texas High's defense, and especially through the air. The Tigers have allowed just 144 passing yards all season, which equals 28.8 yards per game. The Texas High run defense hasn't been too shabby either, holding opponents to just 145 yards a week. Pine Tree will throw it more than any team Texas High has faced so far this season, but the Tigers also appear to be one of the biggest defensive challenges the Pirates have faced to date. Pine Tree managed just seven points in a 56-7 loss to Kilgore, a similarly stingy defense. In that game, the Pirates only threw for 221 yards. If Texas High can replicate those kind of numbers, it could be a long night again for the Pine Tree offense.
Don't be surprised if: Texas High moves the ball offensively better than it has all season long. The Tigers are only averaging 261.6 yards and 24.6 points per game, but Pine Tree's defense has struggled mightily through the first five weeks of the season. The Pirates are allowing more than 500 yards per game and right at 41.8 points to opposing offenses, which could be a shot in the arm for a Texas High offense that's had issues with consistency. While the offensive numbers for Pine Tree and the defensive numbers for Texas High present an intriguing storyline, don't expect the Pirates to put forth an offensive performance similar to its first five games against a big, strong and athletic Texas High defense.